Duncan goes to England

In England yesterday, former Pittsburgh bishop Bob Duncan urged British traditionalists to be ever-vigilant lest what happened to him happen to them. He is touting his deposition as a cause célèbre which should give all conservatives pause as to their own status and a sign that the center of Anglican Communion will move outside of England.

Simon Sarmiento of Thinking Anglicans reports in Episcopal Life:

Duncan told traditionalists in the Church of England that they should not be complacent. Noting that “what begins as a liberal initiative quickly becomes illiberal”, he cited the July General Synod’s debate on legislation for women bishops as an example of how what had happened to him could also happen in England.

“Don’t assume the progressive party will behave any differently over here” he said.

He cited as further examples of “illiberalism” the way Lambeth Conference 2008 organizers had sought to control the press, and the change of style from the 1998 conference, when many primates had also had places on the podium. In 2008, Duncan said, the Archbishop of Canterbury alone dominated the formal proceedings.

Discussing the unfolding situation in Pittsburgh, Duncan confirmed that he expected “around 20” parishes would remain with TEC and not participate in the Southern Cone re-alignment. The reduced income would inevitably lead to diocesan budget cuts. “We will suffer,” Duncan said. Asked about the potential confusion caused by retention of the word “Episcopal” in the name of both the reorganised TEC diocese and the Southern Cone aligned diocese, insisted there was no question of changing the name of the latter to “Anglican.”

Read his entire report here.

Religious Intelligence also covered the event, quoting Duncan’s assertion that Canterbury should no longer be the center of Anglican affairs:

Bishop Duncan said: “He [Dr Williams] is attempting to lead in what are thoroughly unchartered times. I think the institutions of the Anglican Communion are in a season of real re-evaluation. I think he has not found it possible in terms of what he believes the limitations on his office are, to have done the things that actually would have secured the role of his office over the long haul of the 21st century. This is not an office which in terms of the life of the Anglican Communion of the future, is going to look anything like it did.

“The British period of Anglicanism is coming to an end.”

That article is here.

Christian Today also filed a report based on Duncan’s news conference and seems to have misinterpreted some of the Q&A. In particular, while Duncan did express “his support for a second Anglican province in the US to replace the current pattern of “interprovincial” interventions in the US and Canada” he did not say the “Anglican Consultative Council of lay and clergy representatives was working on a proposal for the second province.” See Duncan news conference transcript at Anglican Mainstream.

It’s far from clear whether traditionalists in England are all pulling in the same direction. See our post from earlier in the week on the Reform Conference.

In a related story, George Will quotes Duncan while reverently admiring the breakaway dioceses in his column here, attributing the decline in church attendance among American Episcopalians and British Anglicans to a failed policy of inclusiveness, rehashing several arguments we’ve seen elsewhere.

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